Athena Software Blog
How to solve your technical support puzzle
Posted by Kevin O'Brien on Apr. 26, 2016

The day I started at Athena Software, a colleague introduced themselves. After a bit of chatting, they asked if I liked puzzles.

It seemed like an odd question at the time … but It didn’t take long for me to figure out why they asked. I had been hired to work in Technical Support.

Solving Technical Support cases can be a bit like attacking a crossword puzzle.

We do our best to figure it out by putting little pieces together, hoping they’ll lead to other pieces falling into place.

If we’re stuck, we ask our colleagues if they have any thoughts.

However, the best assistance often comes from our clients.

Depending on how a case is submitted, it can be as easy to solve as a word-search on the back of a fast food restaurant’s placemat or as difficult as the New York Times Sunday Crossword.

Here are a few ways you can help get your puzzle solved quickly by our Technical Support Team.

Provide Details and Be Ready for Questions

We admit it, sometimes we give you the third degree: questions, questions, questions!

This isn’t because we don’t believe you’re having an issue.

It’s because we want to gather every little piece of information before we go about attempting to solve a case.

So, when submitting a case, be as detailed as possible – the more information the better.

Is there an error message? What’s the exact message? How many users are experiencing this? All users, or just one? When did this issue begin? Did anything change around that time?

If a support request is vague, it may take longer to address, as we work to find out exactly what’s going on.

Provide Screenshots

Whenever possible, provide a screenshot with your technical support case.

This gives the Technical Support staff member a visual to go along with the issue.

It tells them the exact area of the software you’re utilizing and a bit of the process you’re taking to get there.

Simply put, screenshots are invaluable.

Also, when using software like Penelope, become familiar with your image editing tools.

If the screen you’re working on has a client name, or any identifying information, be sure to block this before submitting your support request.

Our technical support staff and help materials are available to help you

Understand What's Supported and What Isn't

It’s always best to keep up with supported browsers, hardware and software versions.

If we see odd behaviour with Penelope, often the first question we’ll ask is, “What browser are you using?” If it’s an unsupported browser, we’ll ask if the issue exists in a supported browser.

For Penelope, we post a list of minimum hardware and software requirements right here on our website.

It’s also a good idea to become familiar with the details of your support contract.

While we truly want to help as much as possible, sometimes the issue you’re experiencing isn’t with Penelope, but something used in conjunction with Penelope.

It could be a network issue or an issue with a third-party software.

If you’re up-to-date and aware of what we can help you with, you’ll know whether the issue you’re experiencing can be addressed by our team here.

Use Our Resources

We have a huge help resource available for all of our clients.

While we are always happy to answer your questions, you may be able to get an answer in a matter of seconds by consulting our existing resources.

Even if the exact answer you need isn’t there, you may get a bit of context to help understand the issue better.

If you still have questions, you can bring them to our team, and we’ll be happy to take it from there.

Don't Be Embarrassed!

Every so often, a client will contact us with a support request prefaced with a phrase like, “This is probably a stupid question” or “I’m really bad at computer stuff.”

Sometimes they let us know that they’ve been experiencing an issue for a while, but didn’t submit it because they assumed it was due to their lack of knowledge or understanding.

But, here’s the thing: There are no stupid questions, and we definitely understand that you may not be as well-versed in our software as we are.

Also, our technical support team couldn’t begin to do the amazing, important work our clients do.

We’re here to help! So, feel free to approach us with an issue you’re experiencing, sooner rather than later.

While many of these tips were written with Penelope in mind, they can easily be applied to requesting technical support of any kind.

If you'd like more information on how Penelope can help your health and social service organization, contact us today to set up a free demonstration!

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